Pink Eye

What You Need to Know About Pink Eye

Pink eye is a common infection that is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Since pink eye can spread, it is important to receive treatment as early as possible. At University Eye Associates, we can diagnose and treat you at one of our locations in Charlotte, Harrisburg and Davidson.


What Is Pink Eye?

Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an infection of your eye’s conjunctiva and is typically caused by a virus or bacteria. The conjunctiva is a clear tissue that covers the white part of your eye and the inside of the eyelid. Pink eye can affect one or both of your eyes.

Causes of Pink Eye

Bacteria: There are common types of bacteria that bring about bacterial conjunctivitis. These include Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus pneumonia.

  • Viruses: This is the most frequent cause of pink eye. The common cold is one of the viruses that can lead to pink eye.
  • Allergens: These include pollen, molds, and other materials that bring on allergies.
  • Sexually transmitted infections: These infections include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes simplex.

Types of Pink Eye

Bacterial strains: Typically, one eye is infected, but the infection can still appear in both. You may notice that your eye releases a lot of mucus and pus.

  • Viral strains: These are the most contagious and common types of pink eye. They begin in one of the eyes, and within a matter of days, the other eye is infected. This type of pink eye may cause a swollen lymph node.
  • Allergic: This type of pink eye causes itching, redness, and tearing in both of your eyes. Your nose may also be itchy and runny.

How Pink Eye Is Spread

Pink eye is spread in a few ways such as:

  • Touching surfaces that are contaminated with the infection and then touching your eyes without washing your hands.
  • Sharing makeup that is contaminated with the infection or using old eye makeup that’s unclean.
  • The transfer from the hand of an infected individual to your hand through shaking or touching hands. The transfer of the germs happens when you touch your eye.

When to Seek Treatment With Your Optometrist

You should see an optometrist if you have conjunctivitis along with any of the following:

  • pain in the eye(s)
  • sensitivity to light or blurred vision that does not improve when
  • discharge is wiped from the eye(s)
  • intense redness in the eye(s)
  • symptoms that get worse or don’t improve, including pink eye thought to be caused by bacteria which does not improve after 24 hours of antibiotic use
  • a weakened immune system, for example from HIV infection, cancer treatment, or other medical conditions or treatments

Newborns with symptoms of conjunctivitis should see a doctor right away.

Treatment at Home

To help relieve some of the inflammation and dryness caused by conjunctivitis, you can use cold compresses and artificial tears, which you can purchase over the counter without a prescription. You should also stop wearing contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay to start wearing them again. If you did not see the doctor, do not wear your contacts until you no longer have symptoms of pink eye.

Schedule an appointment with our optometrists to evaluate your pink eye. Our doctors in Charlotte, Harrisburg and Davidson are ready to assist you.

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